What’s Become of Waring – Anthony Powell


Anthony Powell waits for the rice to be done.
Image from the Anthony Powell site.

I finished up Anthony Powell‘s What’s Become of Waring, given to me by a certain Mr. C_____, who is a dear fan of his later A Dance to the Music of Time. The novel is set in something like pre-war Britain and follows, in a very laid-back –embarrassments and loves of the upper class–British Comedy way, the efforts of a book editor to track down the title character, a famous writer of travel books who may or may not be dead or real or a plagiarist. Before I read it, I thought the plot sounded a bit post-modern, or even a bit Pynchon-esque, but after reading I realise 1936 is really too early for that sort of narrative. It’s more a shaggy dog story that a deep examination of identity
Very gentle humor, lots of comedy of manners from an age long gone by, characters with names like Winefred, you get the picture.
Some interesting facts about Mr. Powell (that’s pronounced “Pole”): His nephew-in-law is Harold Pinter, one of my favorite playrights. Also, he really liked his own homemade curry, although I disagree on using butter with cooked rice. On the other hand I’ll give him a break because for one thing he’s dead, and the other is I bet he didn’t own an electric rice cooker.
So what should I read next?

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